The Hawks welcomed Solihull Barons in the NIHL Midland Cup. With both teams confirmed to be through to the next round, bragging rights were the prize on offer.
After a minutes applause in memory of 2 of the Hawks long serving fans, a fairly even first 10 minutes of play saw the teams on a similar level; that is until the Solihull Barons stepped up a gear to give the Blackburn Hawks a tough time for the rest of the first period. Unable to break through the Barons’ last line of defence, Hawks went into the break yet to get on the board while fast paced creative hockey from the Barons bagged themselves a brace courtesy of Niklas Ottosson and Richard Slater.
Both teams left it all on the ice in the second period and there was very little to choose between them as the game was end to end. The second period scoreline reflected the play as both teams added two goals a piece to the board from Hawks’ Head Coach James Neil and Joe Greaves, and Barons’ Ottosson and Matt Maurice.
Hawks seemed to have rattled the Barons’ cage is the final third of the game as the home side played with real grit and determination in the final period, striking early in the second minute with a cracker from Petr Valusiak to reduce the away team’s lead to a single goal. A penalty shot for Hawks’ local lad James Riddoch was then coolly put away after he was brought down while through on goal before Hawks capitalise through Aaron Davies, going ahead for the first time with 6 minutes remaining in the game. Hawks showed some gutsy defending as the Solihull Barons didn’t give up but couldn’t find a reply. The visitors’ hopes were dashed as an empty net goal from Alternate Captain James Royds sealed the win for Hawks.
Photo credit: Keith Davies